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Israel's Peres urges return to peace talks

Country's president says it is possible for Israelis and Palestinians to overcome differences and scepticism.

Last Modified: 26 May 2013 10:38
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Israeli President Shimon Peres says it is time to restart serious negotiations and conclude a peace treaty [AP]

Israeli President Shimon Peres has said that it is possible for Israelis and Palestinians to overcome differences and scepticism over peacemaking.

He told reporters in Jordan on Sunday that it is time to restart serious negotiations and conclude a peace treaty that has long eluded the two sides in the conflict.

"We shouldn't lose the opportunity because it will be replaced by a great disappointment," he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan.

He said the two sides already have a "functioning" solution.

"As far as the Palestinians are concerned we have a functioning beginning and an agreed solution. The solution is the two-state solution - living in peace and dignity," Peres said.

"I am aware of the missing links residing between the two ends. From my experience I believe it is possible to overcome them, it doesn't require too much time. It is the real interest of all parties concerned."

Peace 'still possible'

Peres said time should not be wasted.

"This is an important opportunity to reiterate our will, not to waste time and to return to negotiations and complete the peace process with the Palestinians based on two states for two peoples - an Israeli state and a Palestinian state living as good neighbours and cooperating economically for the good of future generations," he said.

His remarks came a day after Palestinian president told the WEF that peace between Israelis and Palestinians is "still possible".

Abbas called on Israel to "end the occupation of our lands", evacuate settlements and free Palestinian prisoners.
"This is what will make peace and ensure security for you and for us," he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take "hard decisions" to restart talks, at the end of his fourth visit to the region since he took office in February.

The WEF closing session on Sunday will be addressed by Kerry, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Peres and Abbas, the Israeli president's office said in a statement.

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